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As a student-athlete with multiple jobs, Meridian Senior Ben Sutton is well-versed in the concepts of hard work and sacrifice. Even though Ben is spending his last weeks of high school playing baseball, he chose not to play basketball earlier this year. “I wanted to play, but with my second job, I just didn’t have the time,” Ben says.

Get Up and 
Do the Work
If you want something, you must go out and get it. It isn’t just going to come to you.


Instead, he spent his weekends in West Frankfort, working every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night at the West Frankfort McDonalds. Ben grins sheepishly, sharing that he also visits his girlfriend from West Frankfort.

Once Ben was old enough to start working, he never looked back. He was hired by Burger King shortly after he turned sixteen. Ben was forced to stop working at Burger King when his vehicle broke down, leaving him without transportation to and from work. As he reflects on the time, he shares that not working felt terrible. “I was bored. I didn’t have anything else to do. I decided I might as well go out and find another job.”


“If you want something, you must go out and get it. It isn’t just going to come to you. You just got to go out and get it. There are opportunities here; there are jobs here; you have to search for them,” he adds. And that’s exactly what Ben did, starting an afterschool position as a janitor at Meridian High School.


When not playing catcher or first base for the Bobcats, Ben helps at the school, a position he has worked for over a year. Ben shares that working for the school made sense as he was already in the building. Therefore it eliminated the need for transportation. He admits that he’s currently without a car, and being pragmatic, his greatest wish is for an automobile so that he has reliable transportation to and from work after high school.


After graduating, Ben has already lined up work as a deckhand at American Corporation Barge Line (ACBL) in Cairo. While working on the river, he’ll start by working on the fleet, meaning he’ll be able to come home nightly. Ben shares that he’s already completed the interview process and will work twelve-hour shifts on an eight-days-on, eight-days-off cycle. Excited to start the next chapter of his life, he shares that he needs to graduate and complete a physical before he starts.


Ben has always been drawn to learning new things, which is why he considers Mrs. Bremer one of his favorite teachers. While Mrs. Bremer typically teaches Information Technology (IT) classes, Ben shares that it’s her passion for teaching students about personal finance that he’s especially enjoyed. He adds that it was through Mrs. Bremer that Ben learned that ACBL was hiring.


Ben reminds us that when you work hard and are willing to sacrifice, there’s always another opportunity. You just have to search for them.

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